Commissioner Becker takes legislators on tour of existing Riverton Justice Center

(Updated at 4:15 p.m. with corrected architecture firm.)

(Riverton, Wyo.) – In an effort to drum up legislative support for a new Riverton Justice Center, Fremont County Commission Vice Chairman Travis Becker showed several state legislators around the current facility on Thursday afternoon.

Becker said he took Rep. Kendell Kroaker, R-Evansville; Rep. Patrick Goggles, D-Ethete; Rep. Rita Campbell, R-Shoshoni; Rep. Dave Miller, R-Riverton; and Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, on a tour of the court facilities. Also joining the tour was Fremont County Sheriff Skip Hornecker and Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness.

“It’s a facility you can’t explain,” he said. “You have to see it to believe it.”

After being denied funds from the State Loan and Investment Board in June to build a newer and safer justice center, the county was directed to seek funds from the state legislature. Becker said he is making it a point to take any state legislators traveling through town to see the justice center.

Becker said Riverton Circuit Court Judge Wesley Roberts took a recess from a jury trial to meet briefly with the tour group.

Overall, he said the tone of the meeting was positive.

The driving force behind replacing the Riverton court facility was the discovery of a bullet hole last summer that pierced the exterior of the building and entered into the courtroom. Since that time the commission has surrounded the Riverton justice center, which also houses county attorney and sheriff’s offices, with Conex boxes for added protection.

Earlier this month the commission approved moving to the next design phase for a future Riverton Justice Center, and today the committee in charge of looking at large projects was instructed to explore more funding possibilities. The architect firm, Reilly Johnson, was in town earlier this week to meet with members of the circuit, county attorney and sheriff’s offices on the next design phase. The process is expected to take two to three months.

The entire project is estimated to cost $4,993,000.

Preliminary exterior design of the proposed Riverton justice center. (Graphics provided by Reilly Johnson Architecture)

Preliminary exterior design of the proposed Riverton justice center. (Graphics provided by Reilly Johnson Architecture)



  1. Paul Calonge

    Can't wait to see what kind of white elephant they will want us to raise our taxes to build. From the K Mart city offices to the flood plain located, over budget county jail. to the Riverton football field without bleachers, lights, or scoreboard I don't think I have ever seen a bit of common sense ever used in Fremont County when it came to building infrastructure. The only one brought forward that did not make it was the Riverton Community Center that Cody Beers was pushing. Even the Federal road work is being set up to plant trees and put flower boxes on a highway that doesn't have room for the traffic it handles now, not to mention the number of roadside businesses that need a left turn lane. Just proves that a Republican label on a politician does not automatically confer logical though process or common sense. Vote no on any more extra penny scams- if they would use them to actually fix existing infrastructure I could support them, but not to humor the whimseys of petite bureaucrats.

  2. Carl M. Niswonger

    Well stated,Paul. This is hardly the first time these self-serving bureaucrats have turned a deaf ear to the voters of Fremont County- City of Riverton and I guarantee it will not be the last.

  3. Jesse Lyles

    Are you against a justice center all together? You do realize we currently work in an old sheep barn that has no chance of adequately being renovated or rebuilt to be anything but that. The current infrastructure is crap, and I have had to spend time climbing through the disgusting space above the drop ceiling trying to run and improve cable runs that there is really no practical solution for fixing or replacing and maintaining in that sh$@hole! Not to mention the lack of adequate phone and power resources available there. Dirty power and old deteriorated phone facilities make for never ending equipment problems and piss poor bandwidth for providing an efficient network and consistent data path for the deputies to quickly and efficiently get the most important aspect of prosecution taken care of, the paperwork. The current building and it's facilities make an already stressful job, frustrating and unsafe. Communications have been hampered due to what we have now and we have no options to improve or expand the space our Law Enforcement needs nor add additional technical resources that would help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our department. The jail project was poorly managed and decisions were made due to "budget constraints" that make that facility lacking for what it needs to be also. Consistently full of guests due to our crazy crime rate and violations in this county and lack of space to expand and improve equipment and services there too. You would be surprised how the conditions and lack of support for such facilities or projects end up creating tough situations for those of us that work in them.

  4. Paul Calonge

    Jesse, I work in some poor conditions too. Infrastructure even in the "wealthy" oilfield are often old and inefficient, but you work with what you have. The economy is still pretty much in the toilet, we just were gifted a 10 cent fuel tax increase (badly needed, as you well know due to the conditions of our roads and bridges), plus we just got an extra penny county tax for city streets. The whole country will be taking it in the shorts for Obama Care, plus Congress has already raised income tax through loss of deductions. And due to deficient spending I don't see any way that federal taxes can avoid being raised to keep the country out of default even if they drop Obama Care. The jail project was very poorly managed from the original sweetheart deal for unsuitable land when there was better and cheaper land available. I hate to see the land by the airport used for a very expensive new facility when there are existing buildings and land right at the fairgrounds that could be re-purposed and new structures built for overflow, and the airport land used for the purpose it was donated for. Cheaper to build a new fairground facility (does not have to be the Taj Mahal), than a new courthouse/sheriff's office complex for a town that does not even have the jail. I know that the commissioners say that redoing the armory would cost more than a new building, but find that a little hard to believe. Try another architect, on construction bids- not as a consultant. With the court moved the sheriff's office could pick up double the space in the existing building, upgrading the communications in town would be a lot cheaper than running them out to farmland. Not to mention the other utilities. Please don't say that the armory would not be a secure building, they stored military weapons in there for decades without loss.

  5. Jesse Lyles

    Comparing oilfield infrastructure with government infrastructure and the use or production of finances is comparing apples to oranges. With the condition of the existing building, to have the Sheriff's Office "pick up double the space in the existing building" is a far fetched idea. You apparently missed the part about that being a sheep barn. The condition of the building does not make for it being used as an office building at all. Have you been in there? No environmental controls which are a necessity in data centers and equipment locations. No way to effectively deploy such systems. Creatures finding their way in on occasion. Floors that are uneven trashed concrete (the sheep wouldn't have cared). Cheesy modular walls put in, cause there were never real ones in there. All the cabling to include network, phone, CCTV, etc needs brought to code and properly protected. There are no cable trays, conduits, or protection of any sort to provide necessary network security and environmental protection. It happens to get hot as hell in an unprotected space within a metal roof and causes issues with connections, cables, and equipment in such conditions. Being in the Seismic world, you have to know how environmental variables can eat crucial equipment and the necessity for keeping crucial data protected, or the necessity for keeping your equipment up and running to prevent loss of production. I spent enough time out there, every summer for 16 yrs. Some of the same concepts and needs apply here. After so many years, you cannot just "work with what you have." Bringing in new facilities, especially phone or network, is not as simple or cost effective as you may think. Especially when everything is moving to fiber. The days of old copper cables are slowly drifting away and becoming obsolete. If you want bandwidth and the ability to provide improved services, fiber is the way. There are lots of times, there is not a conduit available to run in new phone cable and it is just buried, requiring a whole new run into the building. I would imagine the current facility is old enough and since it was never intended for phone services to be there, that the only option is a new service run. If you look at current conditions and current options, it will turn out that knock it down and start over or just start over is most cost effective due to time, new needs and requirements, and all the other factors to accommodate every involved agency and department. Add all the policies we have to meet with the infrastructure and the security requirements placed on us to use certain services and connections for necessary data systems. Which have all changed multiple times in the years I have been involved. And just because this is in the town without the jail does not have to make it a lesser or smaller facility. Do you know the crime statistics of our county? Do you know where the majority of the contacts and call volume come from? Would it be a bad thing to have a facility that could be used as a backup location for emergency services if needed? You said yourself the Lander facility is on a flood plain. What if? I would like to feel secure as a citizen that all Law Enforcement can still function and had a backup plan of operation in place for all the services they need. Shared data systems are a crucial part of emergency services in this county. I would sure like to have a secure, clean, redundant location for those to make sure I can do my part in serving the citizens of Fremont County. I take pride and work hard to serve the people I work with and the people of our county. Part of being able to do that, is what you want to fight against. Maybe they can hike the tax on cigarettes and get us some of that money to build it. Those things will kill ya and I have to pay that damn 1 cent on stuff I need to stay alive!

  6. Paul Calonge

    You make a lot of valid arguments, but the fact remains that there is a limited amount of money available for everyone, we have just had a raft of new tax increases this year, and the local governments are still buying a lot of fluff. I deeply regret the money wasted on the Lander jail, so do a lot of other people who complained when it was shoved through. My problem is with the tax and spend culture so deeply ingrained in Fremont County, and the lack of realistic planning for the future. There has been so much money wasted I have a very hard time getting behind any project that involves additional taxation, to be honest I feel I pay enough. Counting all taxes, I am way over 30% of my income. Way over. i do know the crime stats, at least as they are reported- crime always goes up during a bad economy. And while public spending does provide jobs (at least temporarily), it subtracts rather than adding to the economy. That being said, I understand fully the need for critical public infrastructure; we all use the roads and need police protection. But it needs to be done with an eye towards efficiency and low cost, not going for the best of everything. Design it with an eye to possible expansion if needed, we don't need it all at once. And plan it like it was your money, not an endless supply.

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